Can You Sue Someone for Falling on Their Property?

Can You Sue Someone for Falling on Their Property?

The injuries you sustain could go far beyond a skinned knee to include broken bones, significant blood loss or a concussion. The medical bills for tests and treatment could be extensive. And, to make matters worse, you could miss an extended amount of time from work.

If you find yourself or a loved one in such a situation, you may be wondering if you can sue to recover costs. A bad fall may be just bad luck, but it may also be someone else’s responsibility, in which case, you can sue. The key is knowing the difference.

What is a “Slip and Fall?”

In simple terms, a “slip and fall” occurs when you trip, slip or fall on someone else’s property and sustain an injury. These cases generally fall under the category of “premises liability” claims and, for the property owner to be held responsible, there must be at least one dangerous condition present that directly caused the fall. Indoor dangerous conditions may include wet or uneven flooring, torn carpeting, narrow or broken stairs, poor lighting, or the presence of hazards such as unsecured cables and cords.

Dangerous outdoor conditions are similar with regards to lighting at night and broken stairs or walkways, but can also include weather-related hazards. These hazards more often occur in climates where snow and ice can cause very slippery conditions, however, rain may also create problems.

In order to have a compensable case, you must have sustained injuries and suffered financial losses that could be remedied by the courts, including lost wages, medical bills, and temporary or permanent disability accommodations.

Proving Fault

Determining who is legally responsible for your injuries is not an easy task. Each case is unique and hinges on whether the property owner took reasonable care to prevent a slip and fall, or whether you were in some way careless and caused the accident. As discussed above, you must prove that your injuries were caused by the presence of a “dangerous condition.” What is more, the property owner must have been aware of it and failed to act in a timely and appropriate manner to fix the problem.

In addition, the property owner must have been reasonably able to anticipate that the dangerous condition could cause an injury, however, at the same time, it must be a hazard that you could not have reasonably anticipated. We have the responsibility to be aware of our surroundings and avoid obvious dangers, but many are hidden and difficult to avoid if you are unfamiliar with the environment.

Comparative Negligence

In the state of Texas, one of the defenses a property owner can mount in a slip and fall case is that you are, in some way, partially responsible for the accident. If they can prove this in court, it could significantly impact your case and the amount you are awarded, if you are awarded anything at all. Your lawyer will ask questions to help determine whether you need to be concerned. Some examples of shared fault include:

  • You can be proven, through video for example, to have been distracted to what the property owner will argue was an obvious danger. Perhaps you were texting while walking or were walking backwards while talking to a couple of friends.
  • You ventured, perhaps without permission, into an area of the property where visitors were not allowed. It is important to always watch out for signage and not let your curiosity get the better of you.
  • You did not take care to avoid a hazard that was blocked off with caution tape or signs. In other words, the dangerous condition should have been obvious.

Even if you are embarrassed about your role in your injuries, it is important to be honest. Being able to weigh all the facts of the case will help your lawyer come up with the best possible plan of action.

Statute of Limitations

If you or a loved one is injured in a slip and fall accident, it is important to seek legal advice promptly. Texas has a statute of limitations of two years for personal injury in premises liability cases, which means that starting on the date the accident occurred, you have two years to file a case, after which point you will be unable to do so. It may feel overwhelming to consider contacting a lawyer while you are in the middle of a painful recovery, however, it is important to keep that time clock in mind when balancing your need to recuperate and your need to take legal action.

Seek Legal Advice

When you are ready to consider your legal options, contact us for a free consultation. Our team of trusted attorneys at GreeningLaw P.C. will bring their expertise and compassion to the table to work for you. We appreciate that you may need help before you have the money for it, which is why we work strictly on a contingency basis. We do not receive payment unless you are awarded funds. We are here for you. “We fight the legal battle, so you have time for healing and renewal.”

5 Holiday Decoration Accidents to Avoid

5 Holiday Decoration Accidents to Avoid

Family traditions are often at the center of many holiday celebrations. Traditions often include decorating for the holidays both indoors and out. For many families, the annual tree trimming coincides with a plethora of holiday décor that is treasured element of the holiday season. To keep everyone safe during the holiday season being aware of the dangers that surround decorating can help. To know the best way to hang lights or how to lift heavy boxes can make a huge difference in how you and your family spends the holidays. Staying safe to avoid accidents is the best way to ensure you and loved ones are spending the holidays together at home and not in a hospital from a bad fall. At Greening Law, P.C., we want your holiday season to be accident free. Read our tips on how to avoid common holiday decorating accidents.

  1. Lifting Heavy Items

Christmas decorations are often bulky and heavy. Even the smallest decorations can add up to a lot of weight when they are packed into large boxes. Before you start carrying heavy boxes from the attic, basement or garage do a quick scan for safety to help to avoid holiday décor disasters. Is everything out of the way and a clear path is visible to transport boxes? Are the boxes you are carrying safe to transport? If the boxes look shabby, or not secure enough to transport, transferring items to a safer plastic tub can help avoid a pre-holiday meltdown. Before you begin carrying heavy boxes remember to bend at the knees and lift with your legs to ensure your back is safe from health issues. The holidays can quickly become a disaster with a back injury or worse, falling down the stairs because there are too many items in your way. Remember to always ask for help if the boxes are too heavy to lift.

2. Falling from a Ladder

One of the more common types of holiday decoration accidents is falling from a ladder. Using a ladder is typically a necessity for those hard to reach spots in the home both indoors and out. Before stepping on a ladder to hang Santa’s reindeer from the roof, going through a quick safety checklist can help avoid serious accidents. Do you have a tall enough ladder to do the job? If not, consider renting one from the local hardware store. To ensure stability, make certain that the ladder is placed on a flat, solid surface. Additionally, having an extra set of hands to hold the ladder can also provide an added layer of safety. To help avoid additional issues from a fall clearing away the clutter around the ladder can prevent landing on top of hard or sharp objects. Most importantly, trust your instincts. If the ladder feels unsafe for any reason find an alternative solution or ask for help.

3. Faulty Christmas Lights

Lights are often the center of many holiday decorations. From the Christmas tree to everything in between, lights are a beautiful addition to holiday decorations. Before you begin hanging Christmas lights checking for safety is imperative to avoid fires. Plugs that are defective and wires that are exposed can easily cause an electrical fire. In a report by the National Fire Protection Association on Home Structure Fires Involving Christmas Trees it states the leading cause of Christmas tree fires is due to electrical failures or malfunctions. To ensure your home is safe for the holidays choose a Christmas tree that is in good health. Needles that fall when touched means the tree is too dry. If a fire were to occur, a dry tree will ignite faster. Another element of lighting décor is using Christmas lights that are specifically designed for either indoor or outdoor use. Replace any lights that are worn, broken or with loose bulb connections. For added safety always make sure to turn off the lights before going to bed or leaving your home.

4. Fires (Candles)

Candles are a beautiful addition to your holiday decorations. They provide an ambiance that is often treasured by many. However, candles are dangerous, especially during the holiday season where Christmas trees are generally near the open flames. Thanks to technology, flameless candles are an inexpensive alternative to the real thing. If you insist on the real thing keeping candles up on the mantle or on a stable surface can help deter fires. Another great tip is setting a timer to remember to blow out the candles before leaving the home or going to bed.  

5. Dangerous (but pretty) Ornaments

If you enjoy going big and bold with the holiday decorations, chances are you need a ladder to trim the tree and to hang decorations. When using a ladder to hang decorations, make sure to use a safe, stable ladder and not an unstable piece of furniture. One of the biggest mistakes people make when hanging ornaments during the holidays is forgoing a safe option for a more convenient option. Balancing on top of stacked chairs could quickly turn into a holiday disaster. Always make common sense at the center of your annual holiday decorating.

If you or a loved has been involved in an accident due to neglectful holiday decorating, you may have options for compensation. Contact personal injury attorney, Robert Greening for help.

We fight the legal battle, so you have time for healing and renewal.

Sources:

http://www.nfpa.org/news-and-research/fire-statistics-and-reports/fire-statistics/fire-causes/holiday/christmas-tree-and-holiday-lights

Conditions leading to slip and fall accidents

Conditions leading to slip and fall accidents

Slip and fall accidents are the causes of injuries for thousands of individuals every year. Slip and fall lawsuits are among the most recurrent lawsuits with regards to personal injury. Different conditions lead to the occurrence of these accidents. In most cases, the owner of the property where the accident took place is the one at fault. Failure by property owners to take appropriate action to prevent the possibility of occurrence of such accidents results in them being legally responsible for injuries sustained from the slip and fall accidents.

The following are some examples of conditions leading to indoor slip and fall accidents:

  1. Floors

Property owners are expected to take necessary precautions to ensure that their floors are kept dry and safe at all times. When slip and fall accidents happen due to wet floors, the owner of the property might be held liable. Below are some of the reasons for which a property owner may be found liable in the event of a slip and fall accident:

  • Failure to provide ‘Wet floor’ signs in cases where the floor is wet
  • Failure to barricade areas with wet floors
  • Uneven application of wax or polish that may cause a fall
  • Application of floor treatments to sloping floors
  • Treatment of some parts of the floor leaving some untreated

Negligence by a property owner in maintaining their floor space may also result in slip and fall accidents. Some conditions that may result in the slip and fall accidents in this case are;

  • Torn or broken floor rugs/carpets
  • Items stuck in the carpet material that could trip people

    2. Escalators and Elevators

Slip and fall accidents occurring on escalators and elevators can be as a result of sudden movements in the systems, pieces of clothing getting stuck and when parts of the body such as hands and feet are caught in certain regions of the machinery.

          3. Stairs

Stairs are prone to wear and tear after prolonged use and may result in slip and fall accidents when not maintained regularly. A property owner may be held liable for a slip and fall accident on their stairs if it can be proved that they knew of the condition before. Examples of some of the dangerous conditions are:

  • Worn out stairs that have become rounded
  • Missing handrails
  • Presence of debris on the stairs

The following are some of the conditions leading to outdoor slip and fall accidents:

A property owner may also be held liable if a slip and fall accident happened outside of their premises due to negligence on their part. Examples of such cases are;

 

  1. Parking Lots

Every car park owner is responsible for the proper maintenance of their parking lot to promote the safety of its users. Any cracks in the parking space should be filled. The differences in height for the sections in the parking lot should be gradual and not abrupt to avoid or prevent tripping.

     2. Poor Outdoor Lighting

A property owner is obligated to provide adequate lighting for customers outside the premises to prevent slip and fall accidents. These accidents might occur in parking spaces, stairs from stores or uneven surfaces outside buildings.

 

Slip and fall accidents result in huge medical bills and sometimes disabilities for the victims. Property owners, therefore, need to ensure that their premises and the areas around the premises are safe for use by people to avoid these accidents.